Rabbit with olives

Serves 4

Wild rabbits are generally sold whole. It seems a bit of a shame, however, to cook the saddles as they are extremely tender and once removed need just flash-frying briefly.

Remove the front and back legs, or get your butcher to do it, and keep the saddles for a salad. Once they are removed from the bone, the rabbit fillets take only a few minutes to cook and are really tender and will make a great starter salad.

The piquancy of the olives makes them an ideal match for the gamey rabbit.

40g flour, plus more for dusting

12 rabbit legs, front and back, halved at the joint

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

1 onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

50g butter

200ml white wine

750ml chicken stock, or a good-quality chicken stock cube dissolved in that amount of hot water

24 medium-sized green olives, stoned

1tbsp chopped parsley

Lightly dust the rabbit legs with flour and season them with salt and pepper. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and lightly brown the rabbit legs on both sides, then drain on some kitchen paper.

In a heavy-based saucepan, gently cook the onion and garlic in the butter until soft. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually add the wine, stirring well to avoid any lumps forming, then add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, add the rabbit legs and lightly season with a little more salt and pepper. Simmer gently, covered with a lid, for 1¼ hours, or until the rabbit is tender.

Remove the legs with a slotted spoon and set side then continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened. Put the legs back into the sauce with the olives and chopped parsley and bring back to the boil.

Serve with mashed potato or a mashed root vegetable.

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